UK to go to the polls on 12 December after MPs back Boris Johnson's general election plan

Posted On: 
29th October 2019

Voters will go to the polls on 12 December after MPs finally backed Boris Johnson's bid to hold a pre-Christmas election.

Boris Johnson told MPs it was time for the public to pass judgment on them.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Commons approved the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill by 438 votes to 20, teeing up the first national poll in December for nearly a century.

An attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to shift the vote to 9 December had earlier been defeated by 315 to 295.

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Assuming the House of Lords passes the bill on Wednesday, it means the PM has been successful at calling an election at the fourth time of asking.

His most recent defeat was on Monday night, when he failed to get the support of two-thirds of MPs, as required by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

Mr Johnson's victory was guaranteed after Jeremy Corbyn performed a major U-turn and announced Labour was now backing a December poll.

The Labour leader had previously said he would not order his MPs to vote for one until the chance of a no-deal Brexit was completely off the table.

But he told a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet: "We have now heard from the EU that the extension of Article 50 to 31 January has been confirmed, so for the next three months, our condition of taking No Deal off the table has now been met. 

"We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen."

Kicking off the debate on the election bill in the Commons, the Prime Minister said: "There is only one way to restore the esteem in which our democracy is held and to recover the respect in which Parliament should be held by the people in this country and that is finally to offer ourselves to the judgment of the people."

Mr Corbyn told MPs: "I can't wait to get out there in the streets In every town and village of the country, Labour will be there giving a message of real hope where this government offers nothing."

Lib Dem and SNP leaders Jo Swinson and Ian Blackford, who had tabled a bill of their own calling for a 9 December election, also said they were ready to go to the country.

Ms Swinson said: "As a family of nations, strong together, working with the EU, we can reshape our economy and harness the technological revolution and build a brighter future, and that's the message the Liberal Democrats will be taking to the doorstep in this general election."

Mr Blackford added: "I welcome the opportunity of an election, because make no mistake, the election that's coming is going to be the right of Scotland to determine its own future."

The bill will be considered by the House of Lords on Wednesday, but it is thought unlikely that peers will try to amend it.